It is true that Jesus said that we will know a false prophet by the fruit they bear. We will know whether to believe them or not. We can recognize what is predominant in someone’s heart by the overflow spilling out of their mouths. Does this mean that the Lord has given us a seat in heaven’s jury?
I confess today that when I know of someone being a Christian (and I see particular evidence that doesn’t seem to line up with what they have professed), my mind tends to gravitate to “Why are they not surrendering everything to the Lord?” and “Are they for real?” Is it really any of my business?
This morning a Scripture in Galatians has been on my mind. To me the entire book of Galatians highlights the way we church people try to handle people who won’t know how to live righteous unless we tell them. (Don’t get me wrong, there absolutely needs to be teaching, training and discipline in the Word.) But do we ever cut in on someone dancing with grace and hand them the list of what they should do and don’t do?
The part that keeps going through my heart is where Paul wrote to them of the people who were trying to force them to be circumcised. Yes, circumcision was part of the law and the sign of the covenant with Abraham, so Jews were trying to force Gentile believers to do this. Paul nailed their motive, though! He said they were only trying to force them so that they could boast about their flesh. I see it as they wanted a physical sign that the people were being changed by God…so they could boast about the physical. Do we not do the same thing sometimes!?
I confess there are times that I long to see a specific outward change in someone, just because it will make me feel better about the work God is doing in them. It is none of my business what God is doing in them! He began the good work…it is not up to me to complete it.
We were all saved by grace, and by His grace is the only way any of us will be transformed. Religion hasn’t brought me closer to the Lord, but His love has made me want to live in the way that pleases Him. Let’s get out of the jury seat and pour His love out.
Father, please forgive us for trying to take things into our own hands sometimes. Help us to teach and train in the way that pleases you, trusting You to do the true work from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Matthew 7:1-5, 15-20